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Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield ($160)

By Brian Metzler

It’s wintertime in the U.S., and if you live somewhere in the northern half, it means you’re probably running in snowy, slushy or at least really cold weather several times every week. Personally, I’ve run in sub-10-degree weather four days this week in Leadville, Colorado, and – Brrrr! – that’s cold! As much as it was difficult to keep my two-month running streak going, it was the perfect time to wear-test the new Saucony line of shoes with Runshield weatherproofing technology. Sauncony’s Endorphin Speed 3, Endorphin Shift 3, Triumph 20 and Ride 15 road shoes and Xodus Ultra trail shoe, have all been updated with water-resistant materials for running in winter conditions.

Truth be told, despite running in harsh conditions every winter, I have rarely been a proponent of waterproof shoes that have a Gore-Tex or eVent lining. For me, it’s often too much protection. Yes, those shoes keep your feet warmer and drier, but they’re not quite as breathable and they can make your feet feel excessively warm in mild temperatures. Also, the uppers on those shoes are often rigid or inflexible. But running all week in the Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield shoes has served up the ideal blend of weather protection, comfort, cushion, breathability and smooth-riding fun.

What’s New: All of the shoes in the Saucony Runshield pack – including the Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield – have a durable, water-resistant nylon upper that’s flexible but not crunchy or overly stiff. That’s the main difference (and the reason for the $10 upcharge compared to the regular Endorphin Shift 3) that sufficiently winterizes these shoes over the regular versions. Runshield helps your feet feel more comfortable through snow, slush and frigid temperatures. That doesn’t make them waterproof, but if you understand what water-resistant means as a runner, you know that you can splash through puddles without soak-through wetness impeding the rest of your run.

Fit/Feel/Ride: The Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield fits true to size with a narrow-to-medium interior volume from heel to toe. It has a slightly narrower volume in the arch area, extra room in the toe box and a snug, locked-down feeling in the heel. The step-in feeling is soft with a modestly appointed interior, but it has a decidedly firm sensation as you start running. The smooth-sided upper and the softly padded, partially gusseted tongue contributed to a secure fit, while a reinforced plastic heel clip hugs and supports the rear of your foot as you transition from heel to midfoot to forefoot. The shoe features Saucony’s SpeedRoll Technology (a design element borrowed from the speedy Endorphin Speed and Endorphin Pro shoes) that creates a rockered geometry and provides an energetic rolling sensation in every stride. Meanwhile, the EVA/TPU midsole foam compound allows the shoe to feel both slightly springy and also very stable.

Why It’s Great: It’s great because it’s everything the original Endorphin Shift 3 is, only with a protective weather shield to keep wintry elements at bay during a run. ​​It’s a midweight stability trainer for runners who appreciate a touch of support to help offset mild to moderate overpronation, even if only in the later miles of a long run or race when your form starts to fatigue. Soft, cushy and supportive, it’s a versatile training shoe for running in winter conditions. It’s best for long runs, tempo runs and recovery runs, especially in cold or wet weather.

Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield

Weights: 8.1 oz. (women’s size 8), 9.4 oz. (men’s size 9)

Heel-Toe Offset: 4mm (39mm in the heel, 35mm in the forefoot)

Why You’ll Love It: Even if you’re not a runner who typically wears neutral shoes, you’ll appreciate the extra stability provided by this shoe when running over roads, sidewalks and bike paths that are often covered with snow or ice in the winter. The supportive nature of the midsole and heel clip will help keep your stride more balanced and your footsteps more secure, which can lead to less slipping on unstable footing.

Pro: Compared to the previous version of the Endorphin Shift 2, this new edition feels slightly softer, more flexible and more responsive. The most dramatic difference is that the Shift 3 is more than an ounce lighter than the Shift 2 and is considerably less bulky than it was before. The Runshield upper doesn’t detract from that lively but stable feel of the non-winterized version.

Con: There aren’t many detracting points to the Endorphin Shift 3 Runshield, but runners with wider feet will definitely sense this shoe is narrower than a lot of daily trainers. Also, the smooth rubber outsole works fine in packable snow, but it isn’t great on slippery surfaces.


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